On 12th of July, a group of 16 talented amateur photographers arrived at Ulagalle Walawwa, Uga Escapes’ luxury hideaway in the middle of Sri Lanka’s famed Cultural Triangle. Their task: to capture the essence of the location and the surrounding countryside – people, scenery, wildlife and culture – in a set of compelling, award-winning images. The photographers themselves were a select group, chosen by a panel of judges fielded by the Photographic Society of Sri Lanka on the basis of images they had submitted earlier via social media. The 16 contestants were chosen from a field of 225 entries.
‘It’s a competition, because it’s more exciting that way. But basically, what we’re doing here is giving talented photographers an opportunity to portray their creativity,’ explained Ashan Wijewickrema, Uga Escapes’ Marketing Manager. ‘We helping these guys get the exposure they deserve.’
The competition was in three stages. After being selected on the basis of submitted images during the first stage, the selected participants were driven to Ulagalla Walawwa and set loose to capture the best images they could of the 58-acres property. There are photo ops aplenty at Ulagalla, where the scenery consists of natural woodland, tanks and ponds, paddy fields and, of course, the hotel itself. All expenses for this expedition were met by Uga Escapes.
The third stage was the final competition. This took the form of a photo exhibition at the Harold Pieris Gallery on Friday, 1 August, followed by a judging session at which a number of winners were chosen and prizes were awarded. An enthusiastic crowd applauded the producers of the winning images. ‘These pictures,’ said Priyanjith Weerasooria Managing Director of Uga Escapes, ‘have captured the beauty of the environment and the essence of village life that surrounds Ulagalla Walawwa.’